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Torture suspect Peruvian arrested

A Peruvian national has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in torture and crimes against humanity.

The 46-year-old man, who has not been identified, is the first person to be held since the law was changed to allow people living in Britain to be prosecuted for genocide committed before they came to this country.

The Metropolitan Police said that he was held at a police station in Exeter, Devon, after being arrested in nearby Tiverton on Tuesday before later being bailed.

He is believed to be linked to government-backed paramilitary groups blamed for atrocities carried out against rebel guerilla groups in Peru in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Nick Donovan, head of policy at the Aegis Trust, which campaigned for the loophole in the law to be closed, said: "It's great to see the new law being used already. Obviously this man is innocent until proven guilty, but if this arrest leads to a successful prosecution it will be a great day for the families of the victims.

"All credit is due to the police for their pro-active stance towards suspected war criminals found in the UK."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said its officers had arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of crimes against humanity and torture.

He was taken to a police station in Devon. He has now been bailed to return to a central London police station in July.

The change brought in by the Coroners and Justice Act closed a loophole which said people could not be tried for crimes believed to have been committed before 2001. It now takes into account crimes committed after 1991.

The Home Office recently revealed that about 250 people suspected of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity are currently living in the UK.

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